Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Why use audio in a blog?

The debate in the weblogging Yahoo Group about use of audio in blogs:

Lesley Graham, who decided to offer  an audio quiz on her blog states that:

"What we are doing in the ESL class (usually in the language lab or in the multimedia lab) is preparing people for real life situations in which they might not have any textual/visual input. Think of all of the times in a day when you listen without looking: when chatting on the telephone, consulting your voice mail, listening to talk radio, having a conversation as you walk beside someone without seeing their lips move or their facial expressions, listening to an oral presentation in a darkened room..... I believe that my job is to train learners for all of these situations in realisitic, or even heightened, conditions. The next question, of course, is why would you want to do all of this in a blog rather than on a plain vanilla web page?"

Aaron Campbell :

"I like Nathan's response and agree with much of what he says, especially viewing voice as  performance. Personally, I rarely listen to sound files that are posted, unless I feel like  being entertained or I know beforehand that the sound file is worth listening to. It just  takes too much time. I prefer the textual medium as a means of taking part in online conversation and gathering information. It is fast to read and easy to search. I can't skim an audio file. My advice to most bloggers would be to use sound sparingly and only when necessary.

Lesley brings up a good point though: sound has a very important role to play in language learning. The potential to bring the myriad spoken voices of the world into the classroom itself, both synchronously and asynchronously, adds an exciting dimension to the learning activities that occur there. As we have seen already, there are many ways we can use sound in ESL/EFL classes, and many more ways to explore. I certainly will be trying to experiment with sound in my classes starting in April"

Tom Walton:

"I agree with Nathan on the use of audio: "If a transcript carries the message, there is no reason for
audio."

Can't help thinking that we're getting so wow-ed by the technology that we're gonna use it whatever, even if it really makes little pedagogical sense (and however time-consuming it is to produce it).

Here, however, is an interesting article on a scenario in which it just might make sense, "telling tales with technology":

http://www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=60300276

John Hibbs:

"The first reason is of course for students to listen to themselves, from the archives; and to have them listen to others including native language learners.

The second reason is that if you are giving a keynote, to a live audience, it is great to record and listen to yourself. Like singing in the shower, you might not sound as great as you think you do.

The third reason concerns "radio" - to include internet radio, conventional radio and all things related to "pod casting". All of these lead to a wider reach - either for purposes of pedagogy or for purposes of "merchandising yourself or your institution" to a wider audience.

The fourth reason is that very often one can emphasize that portion of the commentary where there is real passion."

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